Are you frequently running into an “Unable to Authenticate” error in Pokemon Go? You’re not alone. Trainers report this error from time to time, and it can be really frustrating when it prevents you from playing. This has been a problem since Pokemon Go first launched, although the source of the problem can vary and the error has been increasingly recently.
Here’s what you need to know.
You May Be Getting This Error Because You Were Banned
Many accounts were banned by Niantic because they broke the game’s Terms of Service. This may happen for doing things such as falsifying locations, using emulators, unofficial software, or accessing Pokemon GO backends through third-party software, according to Niantic. For example, they might have used a GPS spoofer or a bot to run the game while they weren’t actually using it.
If you ever did either of these with your account and now your’e seeing this error, then you might have been banned from playing Pokemon Go.
Players who think they are banned can appeal it at Niantic’s page here. When you appeal, you’ll receive an automated response that appears to confirm the ban. However, this email is sent to everyone who fills out an appeal form.
Possible Fixes for ‘Unable to Authenticate’ If You Weren’t Banned
Just because you get the “unable to authenticate” error doesn’t mean you were cheating. In fact, some Pokemon Go players who did use third-party apps tested this by trying to log into the game with accounts that were not connected to third-party apps, only to find that those accounts were still locked out or broken too.
If you know you didn’t violate TOS and you’re still getting this message, it could be some kind of glitch or error. Try logging out of your account and logging back in. If you’re using Android, try removing Pokemon Go’s permissions from your Google account setting and then reinstall the app. You might also want to make sure that you’re logged into the game with the right Google account. There have been a few times when a glitch caused players to open their game and find they were logged in with the wrong Gmail, without their remembering that they did anything to make it happen. If you have your passwords saved, try deleting all your Google passwords to make sure you’re not automatically getting logged into the game with the wrong saved username and password.
Some other players have suggested that if you still get an error message when trying to play, you can try logging out and creating a Pokemon Trainer Club account. Log in with that account, play for a while, then log out and try logging again with your regular Google account. It doesn’t work all the time, but it fixes server and authentication problems sometimes.
Your Device Might Not Be Compatible
If you’re getting this error message, it’s possible that you’re simply using a device that isn’t supported by Pokemon Go. According to Niantic’s Support page, supported Android devices use 4.4+, with GPS and Location services, a preferred resolution of 720×1280 pixels, and a strong Internet connection. Supported iOS devices must be iPhone 5 or newer, iOS 8 or higher, with GPS and location services and with a strong Internet connection.
You’re Using a Rooted or Jailbroken Phone
You may also see this error if you’re using a rooted Android phone or a jailbroken iOS device. Niantic no longer supports either type of device in Pokemon Go. If you unroot your device, you may still encounter issues if you still have the rooted OS on your phone or other settings that might indicate your phone was rooted.
For example, Redditors have reported that if you use Magisk to switch off rooting, you might still get the error because SafetyNet is failing. Try the SafetyNet Helper and see if you get a “payload validation failed” message even with the root switched off in Magisk. To fix this, Redditor 3shirts said they disabled xposed and rebooted. After that, the game passed SafetyNet and began working again.
Some Issues May Be Related to Your Region, Carrier, or IP
This hasn’t been confirmed, but a group of players on Reddit’s The Silph Road are suggesting that some “unable to authenticate” errors may be connected to your region or carrier. For example, Redditor Engrada found that players in Ontario who used Koodo were encountering the “unable to authenticate” error, even if they had never violated TOS or used a rooted phone. One player on Reddit said that Telus and Koodo customers in Ontario were affected and Telus was working to fix the issue.
The same thing is happening for some people who use Cricket, according to this Reddit thread. Some players are guessing that Niantic might be blocking some of Cricket’s or other carrier’s IP ranges due to concerns about spoofing or botting. A Brazilian publication surmised that this was the reason why a bunch of people on the Claro carrier weren’t able to play Pokemon Go about a month ago. One symptom of the problem could be being able to play via wifi but not being able to connect through mobile data.
This issue has not been confirmed by Niantic. But there are certain things you can try if you think it might be affecting you. You can try clearing your phone’s cache or disabling and re-enabling data a few times in a row. If that doesn’t work, check your phone’s IP with a website like IPChicken, then restart your phone and see if your phone is now in a different IP range. If it is, check and see if the game is now working. If your phone has the option, you can also try switching to a different network mode, such as from LTE to WCDMA.
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